Manga Village

At times hilarious, at others heartwarming, this collection of short stories penned by one of Japan’s most talented artists is a perfect addition to any library! A young girl discovers that new glasses give her a whole new perspective on the world, a bunny-girl waitress learns to cope with her male customers with dignity, an introverted art student inspires her fellow club members even as she takes inspiration from them, and more! Fans of Mori will enjoy seeing concept designs and historical notes from her award-winning series, as well as Mori’s own brand of enthusiastic commentary throughout.

Mori_KaoruMoriAnythingSomething_HCBy Kaoru Mori
Publisher: Yen Press
Age Rating: Older Teen
Genre: Short Stories
Price: $16.99

I haven’t read much of Kaoru Mori. I’ve only read A Bride’s Story so far. With CMX gone, her first series in English, Emma, is rather difficult to come by now. I do know about the series, and the praise it has received from other reviewers. What I wasn’t aware of, was just how much Mori likes her maids. This short story collections really makes her obsession with maids, and other things, very clear.

I’ve never been into maids, so being hit with so many at once was kind of a shock. The first short story, “Welcome to the Mansion, Master” didn’t do anything to make me want to change my mind about them. I know it was supposed be funny, but it didn’t click with me. “Fellows! and Me” showed the magic that maids seem to hold over fans, and really just made me roll my eyes. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t like any of the maid stories. “Miss Claire’s Ordinary Daily Life” was funny, and “Maudlin Baker”, a story about an older maid and the teenage Master was sweet.

The stories that I enjoyed more were the first-person perspective stories. “The Swimsuit Bought Long Ago” and “Burrow Gentleman’s Club” are both told as if the reader were part of the story, with the characters looking directly at the reader, and responding to things not shown in the panels. I especially enjoyed “Burrow Gentleman’s Club”, with the bunny girl handling the gentlemen expertly and its hint at a little magic at the end.

Mori’s modern-day stories were alright. “To Come to See” is about a girl getting glasses for the first time. This story definitely reflects Mori’s obsession with glasses. My experience in class with my first pair was nothing like Yucchi’s. “Baggy-chan” was cute but forgettable, and “Sumire’s Flowers” was a different take on the connections people can make. The rest of the volume is made up of behind-the-scenes sketches and material for Emma mostly. There was a lot about corsets and English mansion fireplaces. There are a few sketches for A Bride’s Story, but there were much fewer.

Overall, Anything and Something is a good overview of Kaoru Mori’s work as a manga artist. The “Forward”, “Middleward”, and “Afterward” all give fun insights to Mori herself, and it’s these little bonuses that I enjoy the most from mangaka. I love seeing that they like to do when drawing manga, what pets they have, video games they play, and troubles they have with editors. That said, this book is really for the big Kaoru Mori fan. New readers can use it to sample her work, and get to know Mori better, but fans will appreciate it more, especially all the Victorian Era background information. Yen Press’ presentation of the title with a hardback cover and stitched pages also seems to appeal to the fan more than the casual reader. Still, if you’re curious about Kaoru Mori’s work, it’s worth a read.

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About the author

Lori Henderson is the writer and reviewer for the manga blog, Manga Xanadu. She also keeps a personal blog at Fangirl Xanadu, and a writing blog at Muse of Xanadu. She contributes to the Good Comics for Kids blog at School Library Journal. As the mother of two teen daughters, she needs all the escape she can get, which reading and writing about manga gives her.

6 Comments

  • Alex says:

    I thought “Sumire’s Flowers” was the best story of the bunch, and I liked her modern day stories the most of her work (although Miss Claire’s Ordinary Life was quire fun) I liked the first person stories, but the male gaze was a bit too pointed, even though the women portrayed weren’t push overs.

  • Liked “To Come to See”. Mostly because I know how it felt to wear glasses for the first time. Even wrote about it too. http://www.mangatherapy.com/post/44063457482/to-come-to-see-your-glasses-kick-butt-kaoru-mori

    Still one of the most underrated mangaka out there today.

    • I do need to read more Mori. I have 4 volumes of A Bride’s Story to read, as well as the first volume of Emma. I loved the first volume of A Bride’s Story. It appeals to the anthropologist in me.

  • Antonio says:

    Actually I prefered the male gaze that the book has going on. Being that the stories that she serialize in the fellows magazine that is for man this isn’t even surprising. This is actually the one time she has gotten to go all out on drawing the female form in all its beauty. That said to each their own, you being female I can see why you wouldn’t really like it so its not fair for me to be angry at you(which I’m not) for not liking it.

    Maybe she can do a story with the female gaze in mind because its not like the man she draw aren’t good looking individuals.

    • Antonio says:

      Also to add(since I can’t edit)The short stories in this book just leaves you wanting more and I’m confused on how I feel about that sometimes as they were enjoyable. I especially like the bunnygirl story and show she handled herself as well as the first person perspective. I wish that story was long or that maybe she can do a story about that instead of maids next time around.

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  • […] (Inside AX) Connie C. on Jyu-Oh-Sei, Paradise Kiss, and X (Comics Should Be Good) Lori Henderson on Kaoru Mori: Anything and Something (Manga Village) AstroNerdBoy on vol. 1 of Mayo Chiki! (AstroNerdBoy’s Anime and Manga Blog) […]

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